India may send troops to Afghanistan
29 August 2005: India will commit troops to Afghanistan to cover the two-thirds US withdrawal, but only if Afghan president Hamid Karzai sends a
request letter, although he made clear in the recent meeting with prime minister Manmohan Singh that “Afghanistan’s security is India’s
But still India wants a formal request, although the US first broached for Indian deployment when its defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, met the
Indian defence minister, Pranab Mukherjee, earlier to the PM’s visit, seeking a form commitment, and Afghanistan separately spoke the same issue.
India accepts US and Afghan concerns that it would be an open field for the Taliban and other elements to wage war against Afghanistan in case America
withdraws without filling the gap, and while the Bush administration assures that it will continue to assist the Afghan and other armies fighting
there, top Pentagon generals are clamouring for intervention in North and East Africa where the Al-Qaeda is regrouping.
But any Indian intervention will be gradual, officials said, commencing with training and logistically equipping the Afghan army, and if that does not
suffice, to land troops, and it is understood here that developments in Afghanistan have ramifications beyond the border, particularly in Jammu and
During the Taliban period, twenty-four per cent of all foreign militants in J and K were from Afghanistan, and with their ouster, the percentage has
dropped to two per cent.
Officials said that the US wants to withdraw after a regional commitment to secure Afghanistan from the Taliban, and that was one reason Nato was
brought in for peacekeeping, while its own troops could concentrate on the war against terror.